TRAI introduces Digital Consent Acquisition System to curb SMS spam: All details


In a significant move to tackle the issue of unsolicited commercial messages sent via SMS or voice calls, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has issued a directive under the Telecom Commercial Communications Customer Preference Regulations, 2018 (TCCCPR-2018). This directive, dated 02.06.2023, calls for the development and deployment of a Digital Consent Acquisition (DCA) facility by all Access Providers.

The DCA system aims to create a unified platform for telecom subscribers to register their consent digitally for receiving commercial communications from various entities. These entities, such as banks, financial institutions, insurance companies, trading companies, and more, are known as Principal Entities (PEs) or Senders. The existing system, where consents are managed separately by PEs, makes it challenging for Access Providers to verify the authenticity of consents.

The DCA process will offer a solution by allowing customers to seek, maintain, and revoke their consent as per the regulations set out in TCCCPR-2018. This consent data will be shared on a Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) Platform, also established under TCCCPR-2018, for thorough scrutiny by all Access Providers.

To make the consent process transparent and user-friendly, a common short code “127xxx” will be used for sending consent requests. These messages will clearly state the purpose, scope of consent, and the Principal Entity or brand name seeking consent. Only whitelisted URLs, APKs, OTT links, and call-back numbers will be permitted in these messages. Customers will receive a confirmation message when their consent is acquired, including information on how to revoke their consent.

Moreover, Access Providers are mandated to develop an SMS and online facility that allows customers to register their unwillingness to receive consent-seeking messages from any Principal Entity.

Importantly, it is emphasized that after the implementation of DCA, existing consents obtained through other means will become null and void. All Principal Entities must acquire fresh consents exclusively through digital means.

This regulatory move is a significant step forward in the ongoing battle against unwanted commercial communications and spam messages. It empowers customers to have more control over the messages they receive and ensures a transparent and unified system for consent management. All Principal Entities are urged to take immediate action to join the DCA system within the prescribed timelines mentioned in the directive issued on 02.06.2023.

By implementing the DCA system, TRAI aims to create a more secure and user-friendly environment for telecom subscribers while effectively curbing the menace of spam and unwanted messages.


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Updated: 08 Nov 2023, 01:52 PM IST


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